Step 7: Sending the Simple Procedure claim form and paying the fee
This step applies only to Simple Procedure cases. If you have started your case as an Ordinary Cause action, you should have a solicitor to represent you. They should help you start the case by Initial Writ and will be able to advise you of the next steps.
How to send the claim form
It’s important to send the claim form to the right sheriff court. This is usually the court nearest to where the person you’re taking to court lives.
If the person you're taking to court, for example the landlord, lives in another country it might be better to start the claim in the court nearest the place where the discrimination happened. This might have been where you were living at the time. If you're not sure, get help.
Check all the facts in the claim form are correct before you send it. There’s more information about this in taking someone to court. The claim will be registered by the court.
If you are completing the claim form on paper and are close to the time limit, it may be better to deliver it to the court in person as soon as possible or send it by recorded delivery so you have a formal record of when it was received. If you’ve completed the claim form on paper then two copies must be sent to the sheriff court.
Remember you need to have submitted the claim to the sheriff court and had the claim ‘served’ on the other side within 6 months less 1 day from the date you were discriminated against. Send the form with plenty of time to allow the court to arrange formal service or for you to arrange it.
If you’ve completed the form online you should print a copy for your records.
You’ll also need to pay a fee to start the process. You might not have to pay a fee if you’re getting certain benefits - this is called fee exemption. Check the current fees and whether you qualify for an exemption.
If you drop off the claim form at the court, you can pay the fee at the same time. You can also pay with a debit or credit card over the phone. Make sure you pay the right fee - if you pay the wrong amount, it can’t be registered and you might miss your deadline.
Under the Simple Procedure rules, you must write to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to say you’ve started the court process and include a copy of your claim form. Try to send this by recorded delivery. Sometimes they can get involved in the case - the legal term for this is intervening.
Reaching an agreement out of court
It’s a good idea to keep speaking to the other side once you’ve started legal action, unless they're harassing you. You might be able to reach an agreement with them.
If you do, you can stop the legal process - this is called settling. The court might encourage you to try to settle.
You can do this even if you’ve tried to reach a settlement before you started legal action.
You should ask the respondent to pay your legal costs (known as expenses in Scotland) and court fees as part of the settlement.
If you agree a settlement, get it in writing - you’ll then have a record in case they change their minds.
If you need to pause your case
You can send the respondent an Application to Pause stating why you want to do this. For example, if you’re having mental health problems or have suffered a bereavement. This could be sent in a letter, an email or by using Civil Online. You also have to send a copy to the court. The court doesn’t have to grant your application and the respondent can object. The paper form is available on the Scottish Courts website.